TankCraft 21, Challenger I...
...British Main Battle Tank of the Gulf War, from Pen and Sword
Title: TankCraft 21, Challenger I
Author: Rob Griffin
Publisher: Pen and Sword Books
A new addition to the TankCraft series from Pen & Sword, and with the subject this time of the British Challenger I MBT. Rob Griffin is the author of this one, one of our well known experts on post-war British AFVs. The book follows the standard pattern for this popular series, mixing the detail of the background to the real tank along with an equally good look from the modellers point of view.
After an Introduction which gives an excellent guide to the development story of the Challenger I, and the ups and downs of the export story to Middle East customers, it moves on to describe the detail of the Challenger design, supported with a selection of photos which illustrate it both inside and out. That is followed by a section on Challenger variants, of which there were only 3 for the British Army, plus with the newer Falcon turret since so many were sold to the Jordanian army. Next are the 2 Special Purpose variants, the CRARRV and the Driver Training Tank. This section is actually split in two, as the centre sections come in with 8 pages of excellent colour profiles, each one with a detailed description of the vehicle s they illustrate. Then the Modeller's Showcase, with detailed photos showing 4 expertly finished builds, 3 in 1/35(by Paul Crocker, Brian Richardson and Steve Abbey) and 1 in 1/72 (from Tim Neate). As usual, these are followed by a section telling us about the various model products that are on the market for Challenger I, in various scales.
The final section of the book provides the story of the Challenger I in Service & In Action, as it notably proved to be very capable in the Gulf War. Throughout we see a good selection of archive photos, both in black & white and colour. They include some interesting 'wrecks' that were once used as training aids for REME teams on Borden Heath, though they have now moved from their site there. The models we are shown should inspire many others, the photos of the real things are useful references, and the history of the type makes for interesting reading. I am a fan of this series and this is an excellent new addition.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this copy.